Mask of the Verdoy

Written by Phil Lecomber
Review by Richard Tearle

George Harley, survivor of the Great War, former operative for the Special Intelligence Services, is now a Private Detective in London: poverty and the threat of anarchy are all around.

A chance incident in which Harley saves a young ‘lavender boy’ from assault leads to Harley investigating the young boy’s eventual murder in his house as the authorities do not seem interested. At the same time, Harley is recruited by his former boss at the SIS to conduct an investigation into police corruption. Together with a green Detective Constable assigned as a liaison officer, Harley is dragged into a world of petty crime and high treason. But Harley knows the right people – and many of the wrong people – and uncovers a dastardly plot contrived by a secret society known as The Mask of Verdoy.

Phil Lecomber has written a fast paced novel with characters from both the lowest of London life to the highest in society. The characters use the language of London – Cockney rhyming slang, Polari, Yiddish and even Romany – and Lecomber  helpfully provides a glossary of the slang used.

The cover is descriptive enough of the shadowy world of the private detective if a little predictable for the genre. However, I did find the margins of the printed page a little too narrow, leaving the text looking somewhat squashed.

For readers who like a good crime novel with believable characters, then Mask of the Verdoy is thoroughly recommended from this reviewer.